University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Anytime News Article


Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont

Continuing the series of some of the key figures that shaped our gardening plants and practices are those whose names begin with the letter "L".  Previous ones can be found in articles on the web (

Andre LeNotre (1613-1700) was, as you might guess from the name, French and was the leading garden designer under Louis XIV.  As such, his most important work was the famous gardens of Versailles.  The other best remaining example of the formal French garden, which had subsequent influence on similar gardens in England and abroad, is his first major work-- Vaux-le-Vicomte.  Other notable gardens with his influence include Fountainebleau and the Tuilleries.

Carl Linnaeus (1707-78) is the Swedish botanist you have to thank, or blame as the case may be, for the system of scientific names we use for plants today.  These consist of a genus such as Quercus and species such as rubra.  His book in 1753 (Species Plantarum) is considered the starting point for such scientific names, the ones used before being invalid and replaced.  He was also a physician and teacher of medicine and botany at the University of Uppsala.

A name not well known on its own is that of Matthias de l'Obel (1538-1616), a French doctor and botanist.  As was common at the time, the two professions were closed related, most medicines derived from plants.  With this his situation, l’Obel managed several gardens of herbs, and wrote on them.  His name is worth mentioning in that it is he that the popular garden perennial Lobelia commemorates.

George London (d. 1714) was a famous landscape designer in England, one of the last well-known ones during the period of formal gardens.  Such formal estates he influenced are Castle Howard, Longleat House and Chatsworth.

Jane Webb Loudon (1807-58) is one of the few women to have an early influence on gardening.  An English writer, her nearly 20 books on plants and gardens were often written primarily for women. These include one in 1840 (Gardening for Ladies) with later reprints,  and one in 1841 (The Ladies' Companion to the Flower Garden).  She was quite definite on how gardens should be planned, especially using color, with no flexibility.  Other than her works, she also helped her husband on his writings.

John Loudon (1783-1843), husband of Jane, was a Scottish designer of parks and gardens, but best known for his many writings.  He has been described as "the most distinguished gardening author of the age."  He is estimated to have published during his career over 60 million words on gardening, horticulture, architecture, agriculture, and related topics.  These can be found in the form of books, magazines and encyclopedias.  His book in 1822 (Encyclopedia of Gardening) was the most comprehensive such work to that time.

Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) was an English architect and garden designer, who was most known for his collaborations with another gardener designer, Gertrude Jekyll.  In their designs he was responsible for siting the garden, the main features and the vistas while her expertise was in the planting plans.

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